Range Rover PHEV review
Once again, the Range Rover PHEV is the most refined and relaxing version to drive in the luxury SUV’s line-up
- 70-mile EV range
- Comfortable and refined
- Interior and technology
- Fully electric model is coming
- No seven-seat option
|Car type||Electric range||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions|
|Plug-in hybrid||68-70 miles||319-335mpg||19-20g/km|
The first fully electric Range Rover is due to be unveiled later this year, and will serve as Land Rover’s alternative to the Mercedes EQS SUV, BMW iX and Lotus Eletre. Unfortunately, potential customers will have to wait until 2024 before they can get their hands on one, but plug-in hybrids are once again part of the flagship SUV’s line-up and could fill the gap nicely.
There are two flavours to choose from, both combining a 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged petrol engine with a 141bhp electric motor that’s fed by a 38.2kWh battery. In the P440e model, this combination produces 434bhp and 620Nm of torque, while the P510e version gets a more powerful petrol engine, offering drivers 503bhp and 700Nm of torque.
Thanks to that rather large battery, the Range Rover PHEV has an official electric driving range of up to 70 miles – one of the longest of any plug-in hybrid on the market. Although, Land Rover admits customers can count on closer to 50 miles of EV range in most real-world situations; still enough, it reckons, for typical Range Rover buyers to complete 75% of their journeys on electric power.
Another unusual feature for a plug-in hybrid is the Range Rover’s 50kW rapid charging capability, which means a 0-80% top up will take less than an hour from a fast enough charging point. Fully recharging the 38.2kWh battery using a 7.4kW home wallbox or public charging point will take around five hours. The plug-in Range Rover also features geofencing technology, so it can make sure you’ve got plenty of battery power for later in your longer journey, if you’re heading into a low emissions zone.
The car we drove was the more potent P510e, and as you might expect, with the ability to cover so much ground on electric power, refinement is superb. The Range Rover glides along serenely on battery power and offers enough performance despite its heft.
Power delivery is smooth and for such a large luxury SUV, it delivers enough acceleration in EV mode to mix it with city traffic. The car still feels big, but visibility is good and it’s actually easy to manoeuvre thanks to standard all-wheel steering that means this five-metre-long mountain has a turning circle as tight as a MINI’s. If you do get yourself into a tricky spot, the 360-degree camera and digital rear-view mirror are there to help you out.
Even with the extra weight of that whopping great battery, and riding on 22-inch wheels, the plug-in hybrid Range Rover’s ride is still very comfortable. It cushions you from any bumps, while offering surprisingly good body control. At lower speeds, you might hear the occasional thump when the wheels encounter a pothole, but it’s far from a dealbreaker. It almost feels like the suspension’s able to filter out all of the nasty vibrations you don’t want infiltrating the cabin.
And yet, this big, luxury SUV is still good to drive on twistier roads, as we discovered first hand on some Spanish backroads during our time with the car. The light and precise steering works with the active roll control, rear-wheel steering and adaptive air suspension to help the Range Rover PHEV provide a sense of agility, without compromising on comfort.
The package is rounded out by the plug-in hybrid powertrain, with the punch form the electric motor filling in for the petrol engine when exiting corners or junctions. But once the six-cylinder under the bonnet kicks in, it’s extremely refined and provides plenty of smooth performance. Plant your foot on the accelerator and 0-62mph takes between six and 5.5 seconds for the P440e and P510e respectively. However, the car feels at its best when utilising all the battery power at its disposal, wherever that may be. Top speed in EV mode is actually 87mph, so you can cruise along without using a drop of petrol.
While the styling of this latest Range Rover is more of a subtle evolution from the previous generation, the interior has been overhauled and adopts a more minimalist approach. Behind the steering wheel is a 13.7-inch digital driver’s display, while the heart of the cabin is a 13.1-inch touchscreen that’s gently curved to fit tight to the dashboard. It's slick, quick to respond and the graphics are good. Plus, according to the brand, 90% of tasks and functions are just two taps from the home screen. This is handy, though we expect many owners will simply use the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on their phones instead.
The cabin layout and some of its features are more conventional than those in many of the luxury EVs we’ve been around recently, like the BMW iX or Mercedes EQS SUV, but that just makes the Range Rover that much easier to get to grips with and shouldn’t alienate potential buyers. The entire cabin is trimmed in a mixture of luxurious materials, and the fit and finish throughout is outstanding.
Despite the addition of the big battery, there’s no less cabin space in the plug-in hybrid Range Rover model, which was made possible by the all-new MLA-Flex platform that also underpins the latest Range Rover Sport. There's an exceptional amount of legroom in the rear, even in Standard Wheelbase form, so rear-seat passengers won't be complaining.
Boot space is unchanged, too, with 818 litres on offer and you still get the signature Range Rover split tailgate, which is electrically operated as standard. However, it is worth noting that this all-new Range Rover is available with seven-seats, just not if you want the plug-in hybrid powertrain as well. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not it’ll be an option on the forthcoming Range Rover EV.
The plug-in hybrid Range Rover once again shines as the most refined and relaxing model to drive in the luxury SUV’s line-up. The addition of the electric motor boosts refinement and provides a truly serene driving experience. The ride is comfortable, as you’d expect, but that doesn’t mean the car can’t handle a corner or two. Pair that with a modern-looking cabin filled with impressive technology and the Range Rover PHEV elevates this already exceptional flagship to new heights.